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Friday, September 30, 2016

Healing Herbs and Fit Flavors

Spice of Life

Do you ever stop to think about the herbs and spices you use to cook?  The more we lean toward natural holistic solutions toward health and maintaining wellness, the deeper we get into the benefits of the flavorings we use.  I personally think its super cool how the smell, the shape, texture, beauty of these plants and seeds enhance that they are secret treasures.
Being in the world of physique competitions means flavoring that aids in results and helps with the versatility toward a diet that can be limited, is a big factor.
The range of their uses raw, cooked, dried, fresh, plant and seed form is amazing.  Many can be grown at home even indoors.  Combinations can add even more flavor profiles to your meals.

The highlight is the medicinal properties and when taken in a diet consistently, can show impact over time.  Many people want a quick fix and rather get the concentrated processed versions in supplement form and that is fine, there are differing needs or reasons for that and if that is the easiest way then its better than nothing.
I like to advocate the use of these items in pure form and into the diet if possible.  Many of our ancestors knew this but they lived off the land and depending on where you are from you may benefit greatly for using those same herbs from your heritage as it is relative to your native bloods. 

Back to today, we have some very basic herbs and spices we use daily.  If you know more about the benefits you may choose to use them more often.  There is no lack for ideas and creativity finding an ease in accessibility to those ideas in seconds within a few keystrokes.

Here is a brief rundown of  common spices and herbs.  You can find hours of reading on each of these if you are partial to any in particular and wish to learn more.  You will now look at the Chia herb garden with a new appreciation ;))

One of my favorites to add to everything.  This has properties to help with stomach, digestion and in turn, also your breath.  This is an alkalizer and will help avoid water retention while aiding in your fat loss efforts.  Dried versions are fine but are not 'live' any longer.  The best bang for your buck is to use a bunch or 2 in a juice.
There are a few types of parsley but they all hold the same properties, just a different leaf shape or size.  The old habit of using this as a garnish was originally meant to eat after your dinner as a palette and breath cleanser post meal.  Essentially it's not just a pretty green on your plate.
This anti-inflammatory herb has a punch of vitamins and minerals, read more about parsley and its benefits as one of the healthiest foods in the world at these links 

A mainstay in Italian cooking, you can now find basil in deserts and drinks as well.  The types of basil can vary in color and strain coming in beautiful hues of greens and purples.  This is an alkaline herb but also an antibacterial.  Like parsley this herb is also touted as one of the healthiest foods in the world.  Read more about this nutrient dense herb and its science here Basil Facts and Research

This herb has been tapped into and has been used even in the condensed form of oregano oil, taken daily.  Nothing new to the past generations but hit the market like fire in the 90s and is still going strong.  Like basil. this one has antibacterial properties.   Used over the centuries in food and medicine for things like acne and dandruff as well as respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary to name a few.
There is no question that this one makes a huge difference to so many dishes, widely used in a high percentage of cooking.  Read more facts here Oregano Research and here Dr.Mercola on Oregano

Bay Leaf
I have a huge bay leaf tree and it was hearty, easy to grow, almost on its own.  Usually used in dried, whole leaf form, you can find this in soups, stews, roasts and most hearty foods.  Works very well with Mediterranean flavors but used throughout many cuisines.  This one has been used to treat cancer, sweating, hair, skin, joints as well as having uses in cosmetics and toiletries.  Read more about Bay Leaf facts here Bay Leaf Facts

Used to help colds, believed to relieve joint pain and proven as helpful in a poultice for a sore tooth. Mainly used in savory foods it is also used in some deserts.  Its a great and healthy alternative to mix up your peppers.  Pepper generally has benefits, no matter if white ground, pink peppercorn, fresh cracked or chili flake.  Heat is very popular, more than ever, with benefits left right and center.
Read more about cayenne pepper science here Cayenne Pepper Facts

Say goodbye to honey roasted peanuts at your gastropubs and make room for the new fun rosemary roasted almonds.  Rosemary and rock salt is another combo you will find on bagels and all sorts of treats.  Another hearty plant, I had a tree of this, its also excellent in home made aromatherapy and joint oils or foot massage oils therapeutically.  The focus on this herb is the neurological and digestive aid properties.  Anti aging is another you will see when you read up on the facts with this herb here Rosemary Facts

Sweet or savory, cinnamon is everywhere.  A common sprinkle spice that can be safely used by most and especially appreciated by those who limit sugars and sodium.  There is a few types but the most common is the less expensive version.  Widespread use of this is common and has been applied to MS, HIV, chronic wounds, alzheimer's, and diabetes.  I bet you had no idea how good this stuff is for you, but now you know, read more here Cinnamon as medicine

Don't be afraid to get spicy and now when you use these spices and herbs, you can discover and research more of them.  I added a few pictures with other herbs and some teaser info but I do encourage you to read up on one every so often and open up your cuisine repertoire while establishing stronger wellness habits into your diet through these power foods!  Science has been playing with cross strains of herbs which is not gmo, so its safe to try them.

You will find many of these are encouraged in my meal plans to help with fat loss, making healthy fat free foods a pleasure rather than a strict must.
Sign up and try out a meal plan at and watch out for and click to visit my facebook page videos where I will be giving away some of my workout and nutrition ebooks to lucky winners.

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